author photo

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

The Urgent Need to Defend Male Rights in Cuba

April 22, 2014 | Print Print |

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Havana building from below. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The defense of male rights stems from the fact gender studies failed to produce a universal discourse. It was to be expected that the struggle for gender equality should fail to avoid the traps of polarization and self-aggrandizement, particularly when a complex and profound reading of male-female relations, the relationship between men and women, was required.

Vengefulness and a craving for power are increasingly common among the champions of feminism, such that the struggle for female emancipation begins to engender its own demons: the establishment of reverse prejudices about the masculine and men, polarization instead of integration, power over the masculine instead of collaboration between men and women.

Male studies function as a means of demanding male rights and as a counterweight to feminism in the struggle for gender equality at both the local and global levels, where conflicts and conflicting interests still prevail. Refusing to acknowledge this is another form of veiled opportunism. The demands of minorities and underprivileged social groups must also be met with ethical and socio-political vigilance.

In Cuba, the issue has even greater implications, as the country is seeing a feminist activism characterized by unanimity and voluntarism. For over 50 years, the defense of women’s rights on the island has constituted a fetishistic indicator of one’s revolutionary character and of obedience to the regime, something which has accentuated polarization and made a caricature of gender equality. It is the legacy of authoritarianism that Cuba’s new feminist organizations have inherited.

One case in point is the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), an institution which, despite impelling a sincere and committed activism which contrasts with the bureaucratized efforts of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), is distorted by the unassailable prerogatives that NGOs and Cuban institutions secure when they receive support from the regime in order to improve its international reputation.

As a result of this, we are shown dozens of spots and television programs that tolerate and encourage female violence against men and which ridicule male characters and engage in many other discriminatory practices as a means of raising awareness regarding female rights.

Because of this, any demand for male rights in Cuba, in addition to meeting with condemnation from feminists, prompts attacks from the authoritarian regime, which interprets any questioning of the polarization it has brought about in gender relations as political dissidence.

In Cuba, thus, we see that male studies have been left out of the social agenda, which has been co-opted by pro-feminist organizations which, like CENESEX, deploy these as an appendage and tool of feminist affirmation, sweeping the question of male rights in Cuba under the carpet.

It is therefore increasingly urgent for contemporary Cuban society to call for the vindication of male identity and its legitimate values, and to join international efforts calling for respect towards and greater awareness of male rights, namely to:

1. Establish World Men’s Day globally.
2. Create a “Hospital for Men.”
3. Eradicate materials and movements (and all related portrayals and messages) with anti-male content around the country.
4. Sanction women – legally and through campaigns and programs – who practice physical and psychological violence against men.
5. Sanction women – legally and through campaigns and programs – who sexually harass men and seduce, provoke or use them, taking advantage of their “charms.”
6. Revise the constitution and laws related to the juridical concept of custody rights, so as to offer fathers equal treatment before the law.
7. Establish a nationwide, obligatory medical or social service for women, so as to make them truly equal to men (obliging them to undergo military training at a certain age, for instance, as men are required to do in Cuba).
8. Create institutions that defend and promote male rights, in order to ensure the integrity, protection, dignity and image of men, which has been slated by feminist propaganda and interests.

What's your opinion?

  • ac

    Well, I feel your pain on this issue, but rest assured that if you think thats bad, it is even worse overseas. And since this is a controversial topic, let me begin by stating my position on this matter: I have a strong belief that gender discrimination is immoral and should be illegal. People from any gender (transgenders included) should have the exact same rights and privileges and should not be discriminated in any way.

    That out of the way, I find the “new wave” of feminism to be extremely infuriating and their position not only idiotic but very close to what you would expect from a patient in the lunatic bin. All that talk about that BS about the “patriarchy” and treating men as uncaught rapists is simply insulting, to the point where I don’t think that calling them “feminazis” is an exaggeration anymore.

    Add all the moronic stunt they have been playing lately like banning words (like the “ban bossy” campaign) and all self inflicting damage they are doing to themselves, like lessening the meaning of rape to the point that changing your mind the next day is roughly equivalent to violent rape (not to mention the absolute denial of any trace of self responsibility in things like getting drunk, having sex then crying wolf). But I digress, is distasteful to ask for self responsibility these days because that is “blaming the victim” and everyone knows the only cause is the “rape culture” imposed by the “patriarchy”.

    They simply miss the point that we undoubtedly a dimorphic species with clear distinction between genres. And even within the same genre, we are not all equal, not by a long shot. The bottom line is that men are inherently better for some tasks with women are better at others, as statistics show, but ultimately is about the individual you are evaluating and genre, race, ethnicity or religion won’t make a difference.

    So my advise to all sensible feminists out there: cut the crap, stop playing victims and get a hold of your own destiny. Yes, you may get a lower pay for the same position than a man, but that doesn’t automatically mean you deserve the same, if you do, by all means fight for your rights. Just don’t complain to people who can’t get an unbiased depiction of your specific circumstances, that will not do you any good.

    Also, remember that for every good thing about the “patriarchy” there is also a downside: as a genre YOU are underrepresented in the prison population, you usually get a more lenient punishment for the same crimes than your male counterparts, you are heavily underrepresented amongst the bottom of the society (homeless) and if things have not changed in Cuba since my last visit, you don’t waste two years of your life in the mandatory military service and I don’t see you complaining about any of that.

    Not to mention all that “positive discrimination” that you are “victim” of and it doesn’t seem to bother you at all. If you have real issues, bring them to the table and I’ll fight at your side but get ready to get your position challenged. If that hurts your feelings, by any means, build an echo chamber around you like every special interest group do, but keep off my lawn.

  • John Goodrich

    I would have thought this was a joke until I read it in its entirety.
    Women have been subjected to the totalitarianism of the nu